US government awards $30m to improve grid resiliency

  • July 25, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

The US Department of Energy (DoE) is giving $29.9m to three states, three tribal nations and an Alaskan native corporation to modernise their electric grids.

The nearly $30m combined total is the fourth cohort of grid resilience state and tribal formula grants. Supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by DoE’s grid deployment office, these grants will help modernise the electric grid to reduce impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters while ensuring power sector reliability.

This funding should ensure all communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity while helping deliver on the government’s clean energy goals.

“Every community deserves clean, affordable power for their homes and businesses, a need that is only exacerbated during extreme weather events like the historic flooding and blistering heat waves that are hitting parts of the country this summer,” said US secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm. “Thanks to the transformative investments in grid infrastructure under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are preparing the nation for a more resilient, clean energy future.”

Including this funding, the DoE has distributed almost $354m in grid resilience formula grants to 23 states, the District of Columbia, and 12 tribal entities since May. This fourth round of funding will go to the following recipients:

  • Connecticut will support the efficient and reliable integration of variable and distributed energy resources needed to meet the state’s zero carbon electric sector goal and avoid fossil peaking generation. Grant funds will be used to improve system reliability and resilience in a range of weather and storm conditions and attract, train and retain a skilled and local workforce, especially from disadvantaged communities. Amount: $6.5m.
  • Cook Inlet region will reduce impacts to critical facilities from disruptive events, support workforce development, and address outdated or failing grid infrastructure. Amount: $500,000.
  • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California will develop distributed energy resources and microgrids to increase power supply resilience, address tribal energy justice to reduce impacts to disadvantaged communities, and support energy workforce development. Amount: $287,000.
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation will use the funding to support critical tribal facilities, implement technologies to improve and update grid control and operation infrastructure, and support tribal workforce development Amount: $1.8m.
  • Ohio will improve grid reliability by reducing the frequency and duration of outages in disadvantaged communities, while enhancing resilience to address all hazards, including future climate implications. Grants will be used to demonstrate community benefits using metrics developed with community input, with a focus on improving customer experience and communication. Amount: $14m.
  • Vermont will improve energy resilience and reliability through prioritised investments in disadvantaged communities and critical facilities, and by optimising the use of existing grid infrastructure via innovations. Funds would also support sustaining and expanding the skilled energy workforce in the state. Amount: $6m.
  • Village of Dot Lake will reduce outage risks through asset management and preventative maintenance, as well as plan the development of battery storage for critical facilities. The tribe will advance energy justice by addressing energy burdens to low-income tribal members and disadvantaged communities. Amount: $149,000.

The DoE will distribute $2.3bn in grid resilience state and tribal formula grants over the next five years based on a formula that factors in population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, and a locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts.

The states, territories and tribes will then award these funds to complete a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that generate the greatest community benefit while providing clean, affordable and reliable energy.

Grant recipients are being announced on a rolling basis as applications are received. The 2022 and 2023 application deadline for states and territories was May 31, 2023. The 2022 and 2023 application deadline for Indian tribes, including Alaska native corporations, is August 31, 2023.